The Nigerian duo of Usheoritse Ese Itsekiri and Enoch Adegoke have qualified for the semi-finals of the men’s 100 metres event of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
However, Divine Oduduru, considered to be a potential medal hopeful, was disqualified after he made a false start.
Itsekiri was the first of the male Nigerian athletes to get on the track for the first heat of round 1 at the Tokyo Olympic Stadium on Saturday and he finished third in 10.15 seconds, clinching one of the automatic slots.
Adegoke impressed even better in heat 2 of round 1, winning the race in a personal best time of 9.98 seconds.
Femi Ogunode, another Nigerian but who now runs for Qatar, finished second in heat 2 with 10.02 seconds.
Oduduru, however, could not complete a clean sweep of Nigerian athletes zooming into the semi-finals as he was disqualified for breaching rule TR 16.8.
The Nigerian athlete was, first of all, issued a green card alongside other athletes on the track after an initial false start, with the officials not being able to conclusively determine the offender upon a video review.
But upon the second restart, Oduduru appeared to have just twitched his body forward alongside Reece Prescod of Great Britain before the start gun. The Nigerian was, however, subsequently disqualified upon a video review as he was deemed the quickest of the false starters by the officials.
According to World Athletics, the sports governing body, rule TR 16.8 states that “except in Combined Events, any athlete responsible for a false start shall be disqualified by the Starter”.
It added: “In practice, when one or more athletes make a false start, others are inclined to follow and, strictly speaking, any athlete who does so has also made a false start. The Starter should warn or disqualify only such athlete or athletes who, in their opinion, were responsible for the false start. This may result in more than one athlete being warned or disqualified. If the false start is not due to any athlete, no warnings shall be given and a green card shall be shown to all the athletes.”
Despite his protestation to the umpire, the Nigerian was ejected from the track and his dream of an Olympic medal vanished.